Over the past couple of weekends, I attended two conferences, one in Nashville and one in the suburbs of Chicago. One was legal. One was not. Both were small events with less than 200 attendees. And while they were both different substantively, they both had the same informal, sharing type feel where real conversations can and do happen.

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Today in the American Lawyer, a frank and insightful open letter from Dentons senior partner Jana Cohen Barbe was published. The message was directed primarily toward the devastating toll the billable hour model is taking on our mental health and our profession.

The pressure to work seven days a week, to miss family events, to forgo vacations, to miss needed doctor’s appointments—can not be overstated


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I have been intrigued of late with the potential power of big data and data analytics to disrupt the practice of law and provide insights into areas previously governed by lawyer “gut instinct.” For example, litigation data analytics can provide useful and significant insights into such things as experience and tendencies of opposing counsel, judicial inclinations, and timing. Analytics is revolutionizing the counsel selection process as clients use data to learn the truth about lawyer marketing claims and determine the best fit for matters.

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This week I’m attending the Enterprise World Conference in Toronto put on by OpenText. OpenText is an Enterprise Information Management (EIM)  company that works with businesses of all sorts to manage digital information and then use that information to better achieve their goals. If that sounds broad, its because it is. OpenText has its hands in almost every industry.

OpenText recently made a big play to get into the LegalTech space and is trumpeting this entry at the Conference. OpenText’s legal section and programs have been mentioned prominently in the company keynotes and educational sessions and it has devoted significant space on the exhibit floor to its legal related products.


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One of my favorite academic LegalTech/innovation thought leaders is Dan Linna. Dan was a practicing litigator for several years before moving over to the academic side and is now with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago. Dan brings good humor to every issue and never tires of pushing the needle when it comes to legal tech. He’s also very attuned to what’s going on in the marketplace. To paraphrase an old commercial: When Dan Linna talks, everyone should listen.
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Sometime ago, I wondered whether and to what extent plaintiffs’ lawyers, most of whom work on a contingency basis as opposed to by the hour, were adopting technology. After all, it would make sense that any technology that would reduce time spent on a task should be appealing to those who use a business model with which the less time you spend on a project, the more you make.

It has since occurred to me that litigation data analytics would be particularly appealing to contingency fee lawyers since it would enable them to better assess exposure and likely results and the time needed to get to an end resolution. I have written before about the power of these kinds of analytics.
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Yesterday, ALM released its financial summary for the AmLaw 200.  (The AmLaw 200 consists of firms whose gross revenue is lower than that of the top 100 firms but above that of firms 200 and down. I previously discussed ALM’s findings concerning the financial picture of the AmLaw 100).  ALM summarized the results yesterday in a webinar held by Gina Passarella, Editor in Chief of the American Lawyer, Ben Seal, an ALM Managing Editor, and Nick Bruch, ALM analyst.

The results: like Sergio Leone’s old spaghetti western film, the financial status of the AmLaw 200 can best be described as some good, some bad and some really ugly.
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Some of you may have noticed the blog has a new logo on the About page, and the description of the blog has changed a bit.

Here’s the back story to the changes. As most of you know, I practiced law for some 30+ years before leaving to become a full-time blogger. At first, I wasn’t really sure where I or the blog was going, but I was reasonably sure I would figure it out. So if you look at some of the articles, you will see subjects meandering from tech, to change management, to innovation and even substantive legal discussions along the way.
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I’m in Las Vegas this week for the annual CLOC conference at the Bellagio Hotel. CLOC (which stands for the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) is a network of businesses devoted to advancing in house legal operations. As its name implies, it’s membership and benefits have traditional been open only to corporations. Not law firms. And that may be about to change. Maybe. Well maybe sort of.

CLOC and its conference have grown substantially over the past 4 years; the conference is rapidly becoming a “must go” not only for legal ops people but for anyone in legal tech and innovation space. But with growth and notoriety comes new and thorny issues that CLOC is now grappling with, issues that are bubbling up just as CLOC has named a new President, Mary O’Carroll.
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